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BFAR imposes sardine fishing ban in Sulu, Basilan

Roel Pareño (Philstar.com) - January 12, 2016 - 1:18am

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines - The fishery ministry of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) started implementing a three-month closed season for sardine fishing in Sulu Sea and Basilan Strait, to allow sardines to spawn freely, according to officials.

Amir Mawalil, ARMM's public information chief, said their region’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) would implement the closed season on the catching of sardines until March.

Jerusalem Abdullahim, ARMM-BFAR chief of the Fisheries Regulatory and Law Enforcement Division, said the annual ban intends to conserve the population of the sardines locally known as “tamban.”

The executive said the closed season was pursuant to the Philippine Fisheries code which covers the waters of east Sulu Sea, Basilan Strait, and the Sibuguey Bay for the temporary suspension to allow the spawning of the fish species.

Mawalil said the ban also includes selling, buying and possessing sardines caught within the conservation area.

The implementation of the ban complemented with the closed season for sardines in Zamboanga that started since December 2015 until March this year.

The fishing industry in Zamboanga has long been implementing the annual closed season on the catching of sardines even before the BFAR has imposed the code.

The closed season for sardine fishing in ARMM covers approximately 6,481.80 square miles in nautical terms, or 22,260.36 square kilometers.

The waters of Zamboanga and ARMM island provinces, specifically Sulu and Basilan, are not the only areas where the fishing ban was implemented. BFAR has also enforced a closed season for sardine fishing in the Visayan Sea and its surrounding waters.

The country’s largest concentration of sardines are in Zamboanga peninsula, Sulu Sea and Basilan Strait. The said waters are also spawning grounds for yellow fin tuna and other tuna-like species.

Based on the data of the Philippine Statistics Authority, ARMM has produced 1,328.17 metric tons of Indian sardines or "tamban" from July to September 2015.

As of January 6, data from BFAR's national office showed that ARMM has 221,784 registered fisherfolks of the nationwide figure 1,645,013. 

AMIR MAWALIL ARMM AS OF JANUARY AUTONOMOUS REGION BASILAN STRAIT BUREAU OF FISHERIES AND AQUATIC RESOURCES CLOSED NBSP SARDINES SULU SEA AND BASILAN STRAIT ZAMBOANGA
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